Older People’s Champion

Irene Kohler speaking at Silver Salisbury event Oct 2019
Irene Kohler, Salisbury’s Older People’s Champion

Irene Kohler, Salisbury’s Older People’s Champion has been running the Silver Salisbury programme of events since 2018, supported by members of SaSS and other local community groups. It is a programme of events and activities to celebrate International Older People’s Day, 1 October. The programme includes activities that contribute to supporting people to maintain their independence and provides opportunities for people who would like to be getting out and about more, but do not know where to start. The offering gives local people the chance to sample a number of different activities, meet new groups and make new friends.

To ensure a diverse range of activities and events, Irene developed a planning group of representatives of a range of organisations such as the Salisbury Museum. A keep fit tutor was also enlisted. This group is now a constituted voluntary organisation; the Silver Salisbury Group, and able to apply for funds to develop the programme.

Unable to run the 2020 programme, Irene felt that it was very important to ensure people were aware that older people from a wide range of communities in Salisbury, were not only recipients of services and care, but also major contributors to the teams of volunteers supporting others in the community and often taking the initiative. With a small grant from the Salisbury Community Area Board, she directed a film comprising Salisbury people telling their story and which can be viewed on the Silver Salisbury website.

For the first two years, these events were held face to face over a period of two weeks around the end of September/beginning of October but in 2020 it was not possible to run face to face events and gatherings. The programme includes a number of events involving tea and cakes, giving time to chat and get to meet new people. As people couldn’t be invited to come and take tea, the planning group decided to take tea to people who would have normally been invited to programme events. Over 170 afternoon teas were delivered to local older people on Silver Sunday 4 October to help celebrate the day. Local residents were invited to help by nominating housebound neighbours, people who are ‘isolating’, ‘shielding’ or isolated because their usual activities had not been running for the best part of six months and unlikely to resume just yet. There was a magnificent response to preparing and delivering the Silver Sunday Teas in October and Irene plans to do another similar event as soon as restrictions permit. She has also started to make plans for next year’s Silver Salisbury Fortnight.

Irene is currently planning an awareness seminar on Financial Abuse of Elders.
Contact for more information Irene Kohler

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